This dessert is soooo good, yet healthy too. What makes this dessert healthy? Well, my friends, this ‘ice cream’ is made with only frozen strawberries, coconut milk, shredded coconut and is sweetened with the low-calorie sugar alcohol erythritol (read all about why this is my sweetener of choice in my recent post “Which sweeteners are the healthiest to use?”).
This ingredient list means that my version of ice cream contains no refined carbohydrates, contains dietary fibre and has medium-chain fatty acids, which, according to the scientific literature, are metabolized more rapidly than long-chain fatty acids.
But the best part about this dessert is the chunks of delicious low carb coconut cookie dough. Again this cookie dough contains no refined carbohydrates and is high in dietary fibre.
Dietary fibre is important as it helps to feed the beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. A recent study conducted by the husband and wife research team from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University, Erica and Justin Sonnenburg, showed that a diet low in dietary fibre, or Microbiota-accessible carbohydrates (MACs), decreases the diversity of the gut microbiota in mice. Reintroducing MACs in to the diet can reverse this loss in diversity. However, after multiple generations, this loss in diversity could not be recovered by diet alone (1). So what does this mean? The Sonnenburgs speculate that generations of a highly processed, highly refined, low-fibre modern diet are contributing to the loss of diversity in the human gut microbiota and may be responsible for the increase in many preventable health problems that are common in today’s society. You can attempt to stop this by eating more whole foods, which retain their fibre component.
You will have to freeze the strawberries, coconut and cookie dough a few hours in advance, so be prepared if you want to make this dessert. I believe it is worth the preparation. Your taste buds and your gut bacteria will be happy!
Strawberry and coconut ‘ice cream’ with low carb coconut cookie dough chunks
Makes 2 small serves
Strawberry and coconut ‘ice cream’
1 cup of strawberries, washed, tops removed and frozen
1 cup coconut milk, frozen in ice cube trays
Extra ½ cup coconut milk
½ tablespoon of erythritol (I use Natvia which is a blend of erythritol with a small percentage of stevia)
½ teaspoon coconut essence
3 tablespoons shredded coconut
Low carb coconut cookie dough
1 cup desiccated coconut
3 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut flour
½ teaspoon coconut essence
½ tablespoon erythritol
Ice cube trays
Measuring cups and spoons
- Freeze the strawberries and coconut milk for at least two hours.
- Add the frozen strawberries, frozen coconut milk, extra coconut milk, coconut essence and erythritol to the food processor.
- Process until the ‘ice cream’ is smooth and has a fairly even consistency.
- Add in the shredded coconut and process briefly to mix through. Divide the ice cream between two bowls and freeze for 30 – 60 minutes before serving (don’t let it get too hard).
- For the cookie dough, add all the ingredients to the food processor and process until a firm ball forms.
- Lay a sheet of cling wrap onto a chopping board.
- Remove the ball of cookie dough from the food processor and place it onto the cling wrap.
- Roll the cookie dough into a long, thick log with your hands.
- Wrap the cookie dough in cling wrap and freeze for at least one hour.
- Chop the cookie dough into chunks and place on top of the Strawberry and coconut ‘ice cream’
- Sonnenburg ED, et al. (2016) Diet-induced extinctions in the gut microbiota compound over generations. Nature 529(7585):212-215